Toyota is going toe-to-toe with a military family over a lemon law case, appealing a panel's ruling that ordered replacement of a RAV4 that had been taken overseas during deployment.
John and Christina Snell bought their 2013 RAV4 in Savannah, Ga., and shortly afterward were ordered by the Army to a base in Vilseck, Germany. While there, Christina Snell started having problems with the vehicle:
The dashboard lights would flash and, at times, the vehicle would stop operating while she was driving it.
According to her attorney, T. Michael Flinn of Carrollton, Ga., Snell made repeated visits to a German dealership to get the problem fixed. The problem was caused by a faulty antilock brake system actuator, which forced a recall of 295,000 Toyota and Lexus vehicles in 2014. The Snells' RAV4 was not included in that recall.
On the last attempt, the dealership kept the RAV4 for 35 days before solving the problem. That exceeded the limit spelled out in Georgia's lemon laws, which say vehicles out of service for 30 or more days are considered eligible to be declared lemons.
Last September, an arbitration panel ruled in favor of the Snells, saying they should get a replacement vehicle. But Toyota is appealing the ruling, arguing that it is not responsible because the RAV4 was taken off U.S. soil.